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Fighting Illegal Fishing in ICCAT

November 30, 2011

The recent meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) resulted in some excellent progress in the fight against illegal fishing.  This decision will have huge import for the large tuna stocks under ICCAT-management and for all other tuna stocks as the policy changes domino through the other 4 tuna RFMOs.

Here are the big changes:

– For Bluefin tuna,  ICCAT members agreed to implement and fund an electronic bluefin tuna catch documentation (eBCD) system to replace the current paper one.  The paper system’s holes meant that a huge amount of illegal fish was getting to market.  This is an important test case for implementing seafood traceability schemes elsewhere.

– ICCAT governments expanded its ‘black list’ of illegal fishing vessels to include vessels between 12 and 20 meters in length.  Before it only applied to vessels longer than 20m.    This was a big hole as many smaller vessels engage in illegal fishing in the ICCAT area.

– ICCAT governments decided to require inspections of black listed vessels when they are in port.  No lie, they set up the black list but never put this requirement.  Silly no?

See this press release for more details.

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